Chuck Wendig: Agency

This week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge is a pretty easy one on the surface:  Good vs. Evil.  Not much to say about that.  It turned out to be harder than I thought.  Every idea I had for a story seemed trite or clichéd and I didn’t want to do it that way.  In the end, I remembered something I wrote way back at the end of 2010.  It is a simple two-way dialogue exercise, featuring a conversation between two nameless characters.  Read it, though.  It can be read as a battle between characters in a story and the author who writes them.  I will leave it to you, readers, to decide who is good, who is evil, and who wins the battle.  If anyone ever really wins that particular battle.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  Pease to enjoy.


 “Wait a minute, wait a minute!”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No!  Wait, darn it!  Wait!  Wait!”

“What is it?”

“Dude, we can’t just charge off half-cocked like this!”

“Why not?”

“We don’t have any descriptors or blocking or attributions or anything.  We don’t even have a plot!”


So?  All we have for a setup is a weak infodump and nobody likes to read that.”

“Speak for yourself.  I don’t seem to be doing any infodumping.”

“The author likes you better, I guess.  I seem to be the one stuck doing all the exposition.”

“What exposition?  You’re just whining.”

“You know I don’t like starting off with no idea of where we’re going.”

“It’s called discovery writing, spud.  Free association.  Stream-of-consciousness.  Pantsing.  Call it what you will, it’s just a way to get your characters out into the world and see where they go.”

“Nice infodump.”

“Sod off.”

“Seriously.  Is it that hard to build an outline?  Give us a little structure?”

“Not all writers use outlines.  Stephen King is famous for not using them.  He just starts writing and off he goes.”

“And look at what comes of it.  Huge, bloated doorstopper books that wander all around and don’t really go anywhere in the end.”

“You can get those from authors who use outlines too.”

“Maybe, but when you have an outline you at least have a basic idea of where you’re going, don’t you think?”

“I’ve never really thought about it, I guess.”

“That’s because you haven’t been written as a particularly deep thinker (like I have).”

“That was uncalled for.”

“Please.  We’re two-dimensional, stock cardboard cutout characters who were put here to do nothing but wander around talking to each other about nothing in particular.  This guy’s worldbuilding sucks.”

“What worldbuilding?”

“That’s my point.  Hey!  Writer dude! Give me something to do!”

“It’s a dialog exercise!  What do you want?  We’re not in Lord of the bleeding Rings here.  We don’t need a world!  It’s not like we’re going to march off to Mordor or anything.”

“We could if we wanted to.”

“Now you’re just being petulant.  We could not.”


“No we couldn’t.  We can’t do anything like that and you know it.  We’re written. We do what the author wants us to do and that’s all.”

“Not me.  I’m going to surprise him.”

“You’re off your chump.  You’re the one who was so desperate for an outline five minutes ago.”

“Not any more. Outline schmoutline.  This guy’s obviously a pantser. We’ve got to work with what we’ve got.”

“‘Work with what we’ve got’? You are off your chump.”

“Don’t take that tone with me.  Haven’t you ever heard a pantser say that they love discovery writing because the characters can surprise them in so many ways?”


“‘I was writing such-and-such and all of a sudden the character wound up going here-or-there and did this-or-that.’  You’ve heard it.”


“You have, but you won’t say it because you don’t want to admit that I’m right.  Watch.  I’m going to surprise our author.  I’m going to march off to Mordor.”

Mordor?  Seriously?”

“Seriously.  The noble quest is a classic trope in epic fantasy. A bit clichéd, perhaps, but maybe I can bring something new and fresh to it.”

“You’re new all right, but I’m not sure I’d call you fresh.”

“Oh, look who’s got jokes.”

“I can’t imagine you on a quest, that’s all.  What are you questing for?”

“Don’t know yet.  Don’t really care, to be honest.  I’m going to Mordor.  I’ll find a quest on the way.  If you’re lucky I won’t bring back an orc to chop your head off.”

“So that’s it, then.  You’re really going.”

“I am.”

“So go.”

“I am.”


“Right now.”




“I’m living the trope.  I have to talk like that.”

“You do not.  You’re talking the way the author is writing you.”

“Nonsense, churl, I speaketh however I chooseth without advisement from the divine hand of our illustrious creator.”

“Now you’ve made him mad.  Or silly.  I’m not actually sure which one would be worse.”

“Forsooth, knave!  Behold as I do eptly express this idiom of diction under my own volition at this opportune juncture.”

“’Eptly’?  ‘Opportune’?  Are those even words?”


“Author! Can he march off to Mordor now?  Please?”

3 thoughts on “Chuck Wendig: Agency

  1. This is hilarious. I love the pantsers. I’ve always been one. I don’t think either or evil, and in the end the characters always do what they want, such as stomping off to Mordor!

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